What to do when arriving late in Japan?

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Punctuality is one of the main characteristics of the Japanese, and unfortunately Brazilians fail brutally when it comes to being punctual (I say from experience). You need to do your best to never be late for a place, so always try to be early.

If even train stations apologize for 20-second delays, arriving late in Japan is a cause for immense shame. At one time or another a delay will happen, so you must be prepared to apologize in the right way. Remember to be as formal and to-bow in case you arrive late at secular work.

Being punctual in Japan is a must that determines whether you are a trustworthy person or not. If you are already aware that you are going to be late, it is good to let you know in advance. Don't even think about leaving to arrive on time, if you always arrive 5 or 10 minutes early, you will leave an impression of a responsible and punctual person.

What to do when you arrive late in Japan?

Apologizing for being late in Japan

Most delay related words come from the ideogram  which means slow, long and late.

Portuguese Japanese  Romaji
I apologize for my delay 遅れてすみませんでした Okurete sumimasenn deshita
sorry for being late すみません、遅くなりました。 Sumimasen, Osoku Narimashita
I'm sorry for keeping you waiting お待たせしてすみませんでした。 Kills him if shite sumimasendeshita
Sorry for the delay (light, informal among friends) 遅れてゴメン(ね) Okurete gomen (ne – feminine particle)
Sorry for being late (informal) 遅くなってごめん(ね) Osoku natte gomen
Thank you for waiting! お待たせしました! Omataseshimashita!
I'm sorry I'm late (very formal) 遅れて申し訳ありません Okuret mōshiwake arimasen
Excuse me (not late, but almost) 失礼します Shitsureishimasu
Sorry for the delay, the train was late 電車が遅れていて、遅れてすみません Densha ga okurete ite, okuretesumimasen

Pay close attention to the phrases presented in this article so you don't get confused. If you are not late, but everyone is already present at the place, you can enter asking for permission with the expression shitsureishimasu. Always use phrases to let you know that you are going to be late or that you may be late.

What to do when you arrive late in Japan?

Other Japanese phrases involving delays

Portuguese Japanese  Romaji
Shit, I'm late for class やばい、授業遅刻だ! Yabai, jugyou chikokuda!
Sorry for the delay, I lost track of time (slept too much). 遅れてすみません、寝過ごしました。 Okuretesumimasen, nesugoshimashita
You are late! おそいです Osoidesu
Sorry, I may be 10 minutes late すみません、10分ほど遅れるかもしれません。 Sumimasen, juubun hodo okureru kamo shiremasen.
Sorry, looks like I'm going to be late すみません、遅れそうです。 Sumimasen, okuresoudesu.
Sorry, I'll be 5 minutes late すみません、5分遅れます。 Sumimasen, gobun okuremasu.

You can use the expression kamoshiremasen (かもしれません) to create a sentence saying that you are likely (maybe) to be late. I hope these example sentences will help you to apologize for the delay in Japan. Remember if! Best not to be late!

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